Concepts (pdf)

My classroom is developed around two educational concepts: a Learner-Centered Classroom, and Standards-Based Education. Adams County School District 50 in Westminster, Colorado is currently the first district of its size in the lower 48 states to implement a fully integrated Standards-Based System (SBS) at a district Level. My classroom setup and practices focus on maintaining the structure of the SBS model and keeping the learner at the center of all that I do.

For more information about the Standards-Based System in Adams County School District 50, go to:

Under "About SBS", and "Terminology", you can find definitions of many of the terms that are used within SBS and District 50. Below are the District 50 explanations of SBS and Learner-Centered Classroom.

SBS (Standards-Based System)

An educational model that combines a shared vision, curriculum developed around standards, effective instruction, multiple assessments, and record-keeping/reporting. Students are placed at developmentally appropriate content levels. Progression of levels is based on mastery, not time. Mastery is the constant; time is the variable.

Learner-Centered Classroom

A classroom where students are responsible for their own learning by setting goals about their academic needs and performance. Students monitor their own progress and help plan the steps they need to take to complete Learning Targets. Students can take as much time as they need to complete any task.

Learning Targets

In a Standards Based System students will often be working on many different standards as they move at different paces. As part of the learner-centered focus, students review their weekly goals and write their own Learning Target on a dry-erase strip on their desk each day. This helps reinforce what they are to be working on while allowing the teacher to easily see what students have selected to do. (more info)


Classroom Management

The system used in this classroom is centered around a student generated Shared Vision and Code of Conduct (both SBS concepts). These form the foundation for the other management strategies used in the classroom. Expectations and consequences were developed by students to reflect their expectations of what a good classroom should look like. The points system that includes individual points and class points serves to reinforce positive behavior and discourage negative behavior. Students created the parameters for awarding or losing points. The Event + Response = Outcome table (ERO) is a direct consequence to breaking the Code of Conduct and provides the parties involved with a chance to reflect on their behavior, how it affected others, and how it might have been prevented. It also helps them consider future consequences. Because students were involved in every part of the classroom management system, the expectations are clear, and students understand what is expected of them at all times. (more info)

Four Corners Rubric

This is simply a four point rubric broken down into the four levels. Each of the four levels is placed individually in a different corner of the room. With this tool a teacher can: pre-assess students on new skills or content by sending them to stand in the corner that best represents their knowledge, quickly check understanding during a lesson, formatively asses where students are at the end of the day, form small groups based on where students gather. (more info)

Organizing Student Work

Students keep a working binder that houses all the work that they are either completing or working on over time. Weekly goals are set and kept in this binder for regular reference so that each student can easily check what they need to be working on. Once students complete an activity at a proficient level it is tracked on a progress monitoring sheet and placed in their portfolio binder. Portfolio binders include three pieces of proficient work for each Learning Target, Capacity Matrices that explain the skills needed for each Learning Target, and a Progress Monitoring Sheet that lists all the Learning Targets, and the activities the student completed to meet each Learning Target.

Completed student work may also be placed on walls, on exemplar posters, and on project display boards to help other students know how to complete an activity or to inspire others in a variety of project options. (more info)


(click here for PDF copy of text)